Best Practice Spotlight: Research breeds resourcefulness at Saint Elizabeth Health Care

As a health care professional, have you ever struggled with managing pain for your palliative care clients? Have you asked yourself, “Is optimal pain control achievable?” Finally, have you ever wondered how you could do things differently in order to help your clients achieve the goals of their care plan more quickly?

The goal of the palliative care program at Saint Elizabeth Health Care (SEHC) is to provide high quality evidence-based care to community clients with oncology and palliative care needs. As a Best Practice Spotlight Organization, SEHC nurses are at the forefront of developing and sharing creative strategies to implement and evaluate nursing Best Practice Guidelines (BPGs), including assessment and management of pain.

Pain assessment, evaluation and documentation strategies are being implemented in 17 of SEHC’s service delivery centres across Ontario that provide nursing services and 10 service delivery centres that provide supportive care services. To date, staff at eight sites have received training and education, and implementation has proceeded with a great deal of enthusiasm and creativity on the part of our nurses, including role modeling and participation in web-based communities of learning.

A community of learning is an innovative forum for members to create, share and build new knowledge in an online exchange supported by expert moderation. The opportunity for nurses to be connected across the province and the ability to learn from each other’s implementation experience is proving to be valuable. The following is a quote taken from the discourse of the forum:

“I just downloaded ALL the documentation in preparation for the pain blitz and was getting rather anxious about how I was going to inspire the nurses; however, after reading and viewing some of the ingenious presentations by others, I am now inspired myself, and challenged too!”

Ongoing evaluation is an important aspect of this project and includes multiple measures in the areas of knowledge acquisition, nursing satisfaction with implementation strategies, knowledge translation, and client outcomes.

“Our goal is to ensure that the evidence gets lifted from the page and embedded into daily nursing practice,” said Nancy Lefebre, chief clinical executive and vice president, knowledge and practice at SEHC. “In keeping with our vision to be a knowledge and care exchange company, the Best Practice Spotlight initiative is a continuation of our efforts to positively impact the nursing profession and improve health outcomes through the use of best practice.”

SEHC is one of seven Ontario health care organizations working with the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) to implement and evaluate multiple BPGs over the next three years. The project is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Established in 1908, Saint Elizabeth Health Care is a Canadian not-for-profit charitable organization that provides home and community health care services throughout Ontario, delivering over two million visits annually. The organization also shares its talent and wisdom nationally and internationally, to support other health organizations in enhancing care to individuals and families in their communities.